History Timeline: Commercial passenger airplane crashes
Here's a look at what you need to know about commercial passenger airplane crashes.
On August 12, 1985, the largest number of deaths in a single commercial airplane crash occurred when a Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 crashed into Mt. Ogura in Japan, killing 520 passengers and crew members.
Timeline: Note: These are commercial passenger airplane crashes with fatalities over 200 or ones that are otherwise notable. No crashes resulting from terrorist or military action are included.
December 14, 1920 - Believed to be one of the first known commercial passenger airplane crashes, a British Handley Page HP-16 en route to Paris from London crashes just after takeoff killing four of the eight people onboard.
September 4, 1971 - An Alaskan Airlines 727 crashes into a mountain approximately 20 miles west of Juneau, killing all 111 passengers.
March 3, 1974 - 346 people are killed when a Turkish Airlines DC-10 crashes in France, as a result of the cargo door not being fully latched.
March 27, 1977 - A KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747 crashes into a Pan American World Airways Boeing 747 at the Los Rodeos Airport at Tenerife in the Canary Islands, killing a total of 583 (335 fatalities on the Pan American airplane and all 234 passengers plus 14 crew members on the KLM plane). The accident occurs when the KLM airplane begins its takeoff while the Pan American airplane is still on the runway.
May 25, 1979 - An American Airlines DC-10 crashes after takeoff from Chicago O'Hare International Airport, killing 271 onboard and another two on the ground. During takeoff, an engine on the left wing falls off; the FAA later faults American Airline maintenance techniques for the crash.
November 28, 1979 - An Air New Zealand DC -10 crashes into Mt. Erebus on Antarctica and 257 people are killed. The crash is believed to be the result of a navigational error.
August 12, 1985 - The largest number of deaths in a single commercial airplane crash occurs when a Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 crashes into Mt. Ogura in Japan, killing 520 passengers and crew members.
April 28, 1988 - An Aloha Airlines Boeing 737 decompresses, causing an in-air explosion. The pilot manages to land the plane safely, but one person is killed and dozens of passengers and crew members are injured. Later, the NTSB faults the airline's maintenance program for failing to address signs of metal fatigue and disbonding which ultimately caused the fuselage separation. The Aviation Safety Research Act of 1988 is passed by Congress as a result of this incident.
May 26, 1991 - Fifteen minutes after takeoff, a thrust reverser deploys on Lauda Air Boeing 767 Flight 004. The plane crashes 70 miles northwest of Bangkok, Thailand. All 223 passengers and crew are killed.
July 11, 1991 - The landing gear of a Nigeria Airways DC-8 catches on fire shortly after takeoff and upon return to the airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the plane crashes, killing all 261 people onboard.
April 26, 1994 - A China Airlines Airbus A300 crashes on approach to Nagoya Airport, Japan and 264 people are killed.
July 17, 1996 - TWA Flight 800, a Boeing 747, explodes in air and crashes off the coast of Long Island, New York. All 230 people aboard are killed. The NTSB rules that the explosion was caused by faulty wiring that ignited a center fuel tank.
November 12, 1996 - A midair collision between a Saudi Arabian Airlines 747 and a Kazakhstan Airlines II-76 takes place at the New Delhi, India airport. All 349 people on both airplanes are killed.
August 6, 1997 - A Korean Airlines Boeing 747 crashes in the Guam jungle and 228 people are killed.
September 26, 1997 - A Garuda Indonesia Airlines Airbus A300 crashes in Buah Nabar, Indonesia, killing 234 people.
February 16, 1998 - Flying through rain and fog, a China Airlines Airbus A300 crashes into a neighborhood near Taipei, Taiwan, killing all 196 aboard and another seven on the ground.
September 2, 1998 - A Swissair MD-11 crashes off Nova Scotia, Canada, killing 229. The Canadian Transportation Safety Board later concludes that flammable material and faulty wiring generated a fire that spread beyond the crew's control.
July 25, 2000 - The Air France Concorde, en route to New York, crashes into a Paris hotel shortly after takeoff, killing 113 (all 109 aboard and four on the ground).
November 12, 2001 - An American Airlines Airbus A300 crashes in Belle Harbor, Queens, shortly after takeoff from JFK Airport, killing a total of 265 people, including five people on the ground.
May 25, 2002 - A China Airlines Boeing 747 crashes into the Taiwan Strait 20 minutes after takeoff, killing all 225 onboard. The crash is later attributed to metal fatigue brought on by a previous faulty repair job.
July 8, 2003 - A Sudan Airways Boeing 737 crashes just after takeoff, killing 116. A three-year-old boy is the only survivor.
January 15, 2009 - U.S. Airways Flight 1549 lands in the Hudson River in New York City approximately three minutes after takeoff, and after hitting a flock of birds. All 155 aboard survive.
June 1, 2009 - Air France Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris carrying 228 passengers and crew is lost over the Atlantic. The first bodies are recovered on June 6, approximately 600 miles off the northern coast of Brazil.
May 1, 2011 - The data recorder from Flight 447 is recovered 12,800 ft (3,900 meters) underwater, by the BEA, the French air accident investigation agency.
July 5, 2012 - France's Bureau of Investigation and Analysis concludes that a series of errors by pilots and a failure to react effectively to technical problems led to the crash that killed the 228 passengers and crew aboard Air France Flight 447.
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